"The American Left uses “conspiracy theory” to dismiss news and narratives it doesn’t like much in the way the American Right uses “fake news.” Other eras would’ve considered this a bug, but at this moment it’s a feature of the mainstream and alternative news and opinion cycle. Aristotle’s observation that “the more we know the more we don’t know” helps to explain why too often conspiracy theories fill in the gaps of what we don’t know...and sometimes of what we think we know. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in a time of unparalleled information abundance reveals deep anxieties that Enlightenment inspired values such as truth and opinion supported by facts and argument aren’t working as well as they once did. This examination of different ways to think about conspiracy theory is an effort in the fight against the most unfortunate trend in American intellectual life."
"Fighting crime and enforcing the law require someone breaking the law. But “keeping us safe” is ultimately about perceived (and now predicted) threats that may never materialize but nevertheless require a vigilance that justifies itself once we accept it. Necessarily, more perceived or potential threats than real account significantly for the increased level of surveillance we’ve seen since 2001."